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Runners off to the World Champs

In a momentous week for Athletics and Cycling Masterton [ACM] two of their members, James Inwood and Debbie Donald, were selected to represent New Zealand in world championships. CHRIS COGDALE caught up with the two new internationals.
DEBBIE DONALD

Debbie Donald endured a rollercoaster of emotions before her selection to run the half marathon at the World Road Championships in
Riga, Latvia was confirmed.

Donald, 36, who is now based in Western Australia and runs under the ACM banner, had put her name forward for selection but received an email on Sunday stating she had not been selected, only to receive another email 24 hours later about being selected and to disregard the previous email.

Although disappointed after the first email, Donald started planning other events and entered September’s Berlin Marathon – an Abbott World Marathon Major and one of the most iconic and fastest courses in the world.

“This took my focus away from missing out and had me excited about the next block of training. I am not one to sit around and feel sorry for myself, “ Donald said.

“24 hours later, when I received my selection email, I was extremely happy, and happy tears were shed! I also started to consider if I could race Berlin on September 24 as I had paid for my entry and accommodation and the World Road Running Championships the following week on October 1.

“My husband, Hayden, was pretty quick to rein me in as he does and point out that to represent my country, I need to put my best foot forward and running a marathon beforehand is not an option. I managed to defer my entry for Berlin to next year and focus on half marathon training, which is a lot kinder to the body than marathon training as you don’t have those long grinding 30km plus runs.”

Donald came to prominence by winning the NZ Marathon Championship in Christchurch in April in a time of 2hrs 44min 21sec in only her third attempt over the distance.

In her build-up for the world championships, Donald will run in the Perth Half Marathon, which doubles as the State Champs and will be a valuable hit out to get a gauge of where her fitness is at. DEBBIE DONALD

Debbie Donald endured a rollercoaster of emotions before her selection to run the half marathon at the World Road Championships in Riga, Latvia was confirmed.

Donald, 36, who is now based in Western Australia and runs under the ACM banner, had put her name forward for selection but received an email on Sunday stating she had not been selected, only to receive another email 24 hours later about being selected and to disregard the previous email.

Although disappointed after the first email, Donald started planning other events and entered September’s Berlin Marathon – an Abbott World Marathon Major and one of the most iconic and fastest courses in the world.

“This took my focus away from missing out and had me excited about the next block of training. I am not one to sit around and feel sorry for myself, “ Donald said.

“24 hours later, when I received my selection email, I was extremely happy, and happy tears were shed! I also started to consider if I could race Berlin on September 24 as I had paid for my entry and accommodation and the World Road Running Championships the following week on October 1.

“My husband, Hayden, was pretty quick to rein me in as he does and point out that to represent my country, I need to put my best foot forward and running a marathon beforehand is not an option. I managed to defer my entry for Berlin to next year and focus on half marathon training, which is a lot kinder to the body than marathon training as you don’t have those long grinding 30km plus runs.”

Donald came to prominence by winning the NZ Marathon Championship in Christchurch in April in a time of 2hrs 44min 21sec in only her third attempt over the distance.

In her build-up for the world championships, Donald will run in the Perth Half Marathon, which doubles as the State Champs and will be a valuable hit out to get a gauge of where her fitness is at. JAMES INWOOD

James Inwood admits it was pure relief when he was informed of his selection to represent New Zealand in the World 24-hour Championship in Chinese Taipei in December.

“It’s been a long time coming,” the 46-year-old Greytown data consultant said.

“It’s going way back to when I did my first one or two 100km races. I thought, I wonder how far I can go, and there was a round Lake Taupo race that I did in 2020, and do you think I can do an extra 55k to get around Taupo and I managed that, and then I thought can I run for 24 hours and managed that and then started dreaming could I make the New Zealand team.

“Then covid came along, and the last world championships in Romania in 2021were cancelled, and I was in a good position to make that team, so I had to keep going and keep focusing, and when it was announced the other day, I was obviously excited and really proud, but I was really relieved that all that effort had been worth it.”

Inwood is the second ACM member to be selected for the ultra-marathon event, following in the footsteps of Graeme Butcher, who competed in two world championships, as well as Commonwealth and Oceania championships.

“Ever since I started doing this stuff, and when I did my first 100k race, I’ve leant on him, and my first 100k race was his last 100k race in Christchurch. He’s been a bit of a mentor to me ever since, really and giving me guidance on this longer stuff, especially the 24 hours.”

Inwood has a personal best [PB] of 202km, set in Sydney last year and knows that he will need to run even further to be a serious challenger. World record holder Lithuanian Aleksandr Sorokin, who ran a phenomenal 319.614km last year, and a strong group of American and Australian athletes capable of running 240km plus are likely to line up.

“You go there with the plan to run a PB and punish yourself harder than you ever have. You never know what is going to happen in these races. Even the frontrunner can fall over or pull out. That happened to me in Melbourne in April. I was second by a long way, and the guy winning it, there didn’t seem anything wrong with him, but he just decided he had had enough.”

Inwood will warm up for the worlds by competing in the12 hour race at the national champs in September. He also intends to get a coach for the first time and concentrate on getting a few more km in the legs, strength work and stretching and diet.

“I was saying to someone the other day, there’s so much room for improvement, and there’s so much more I could do to go further.”

Although the world championships will be a highlight, Inwood reckons his recent involvement in the Bad Water ultra marathon covering 217km in Death Valley takes a lot of beating.

Inwood crewed and paced for Australian Marie Connor, who finished third woman and seventh overall, finishing in just under 28 hours.

“What an experience Bad Water has always been the pinnacle for me and the end goal. She started at 10pm, in 48 degrees, in the third wave and an hour later, that car was reading 59 degrees with the heat coming off the rocks. It was my running highlight, and it wasn’t even my event.” JAMES INWOOD

James Inwood admits it was pure relief when he was informed of his selection to represent New Zealand in the World 24-hour Championship in Chinese Taipei in December.

“It’s been a long time coming,” the 46-year-old Greytown data consultant said.

“It’s going way back to when I did my first one or two 100km races. I thought, I wonder how far I can go, and there was a round Lake Taupo race that I did in 2020, and do you think I can do an extra 55k to get around Taupo and I managed that, and then I thought can I run for 24 hours and managed that and then started dreaming could I make the New Zealand team.

“Then covid came along, and the last world championships in Romania in 2021were cancelled, and I was in a good position to make that team, so I had to keep going and keep focusing, and when it was announced the other day, I was obviously excited and really proud, but I was really relieved that all that effort had been worth it.”

Inwood is the second ACM member to be selected for the ultra-marathon event, following in the footsteps of Graeme Butcher, who competed in two world championships, as well as Commonwealth and Oceania championships.

“Ever since I started doing this stuff, and when I did my first 100k race, I’ve leant on him, and my first 100k race was his last 100k race in Christchurch. He’s been a bit of a mentor to me ever since, really and giving me guidance on this longer stuff, especially the 24 hours.”

Inwood has a personal best [PB] of 202km, set in Sydney last year and knows that he will need to run even further to be a serious challenger. World record holder Lithuanian Aleksandr Sorokin, who ran a phenomenal 319.614km last year, and a strong group of American and Australian athletes capable of running 240km plus are likely to line up.

“You go there with the plan to run a PB and punish yourself harder than you ever have. You never know what is going to happen in these races. Even the frontrunner can fall over or pull out. That happened to me in Melbourne in April. I was second by a long way, and the guy winning it, there didn’t seem anything wrong with him, but he just decided he had had enough.”

Inwood will warm up for the worlds by competing in the12 hour race at the national champs in September. He also intends to get a coach for the first time and concentrate on getting a few more km in the legs, strength work and stretching and diet.

“I was saying to someone the other day, there’s so much room for improvement, and there’s so much more I could do to go further.”

Although the world championships will be a highlight, Inwood reckons his recent involvement in the Bad Water ultra marathon covering 217km in Death Valley takes a lot of beating.

Inwood crewed and paced for Australian Marie Connor, who finished third woman and seventh overall, finishing in just under 28 hours.

“What an experience Bad Water has always been the pinnacle for me and the end goal. She started at 10pm, in 48 degrees, in the third wave and an hour later, that car was reading 59 degrees with the heat coming off the rocks. It was my running highlight, and it wasn’t even my event.” JAMES INWOOD

James Inwood admits it was pure relief when he was informed of his selection to represent New Zealand in the World 24-hour Championship in Chinese Taipei in December.

“It’s been a long time coming,” the 46-year-old Greytown data consultant said.

“It’s going way back to when I did my first one or two 100km races. I thought, I wonder how far I can go, and there was a round Lake Taupo race that I did in 2020, and do you think I can do an extra 55k to get around Taupo and I managed that, and then I thought can I run for 24 hours and managed that and then started dreaming could I make the New Zealand team.

“Then covid came along, and the last world championships in Romania in 2021were cancelled, and I was in a good position to make that team, so I had to keep going and keep focusing, and when it was announced the other day, I was obviously excited and really proud, but I was really relieved that all that effort had been worth it.”

Inwood is the second ACM member to be selected for the ultra-marathon event, following in the footsteps of Graeme Butcher, who competed in two world championships, as well as Commonwealth and Oceania championships.

“Ever since I started doing this stuff, and when I did my first 100k race, I’ve leant on him, and my first 100k race was his last 100k race in Christchurch. He’s been a bit of a mentor to me ever since, really and giving me guidance on this longer stuff, especially the 24 hours.”

Inwood has a personal best [PB] of 202km, set in Sydney last year and knows that he will need to run even further to be a serious challenger. World record holder Lithuanian Aleksandr Sorokin, who ran a phenomenal 319.614km last year, and a strong group of American and Australian athletes capable of running 240km plus are likely to line up.

“You go there with the plan to run a PB and punish yourself harder than you ever have. You never know what is going to happen in these races. Even the frontrunner can fall over or pull out. That happened to me in Melbourne in April. I was second by a long way, and the guy winning it, there didn’t seem anything wrong with him, but he just decided he had had enough.”

Inwood will warm up for the worlds by competing in the12 hour race at the national champs in September. He also intends to get a coach for the first time and concentrate on getting a few more km in the legs, strength work and stretching and diet.

“I was saying to someone the other day, there’s so much room for improvement, and there’s so much more I could do to go further.”

Although the world championships will be a highlight, Inwood reckons his recent involvement in the Bad Water ultra marathon covering 217km in Death Valley takes a lot of beating.

Inwood crewed and paced for Australian Marie Connor, who finished third woman and seventh overall, finishing in just under 28 hours.

“What an experience Bad Water has always been the pinnacle for me and the end goal. She started at 10pm, in 48 degrees, in the third wave and an hour later, that car was reading 59 degrees with the heat coming off the rocks. It was my running highlight, and it wasn’t even my event.” JAMES INWOOD

James Inwood admits it was pure relief when he was informed of his selection to represent New Zealand in the World 24-hour Championship in Chinese Taipei in December.

“It’s been a long time coming,” the 46-year-old Greytown data consultant said.

“It’s going way back to when I did my first one or two 100km races. I thought, I wonder how far I can go, and there was a round Lake Taupo race that I did in 2020, and do you think I can do an extra 55k to get around Taupo and I managed that, and then I thought can I run for 24 hours and managed that and then started dreaming could I make the New Zealand team.

“Then covid came along, and the last world championships in Romania in 2021were cancelled, and I was in a good position to make that team, so I had to keep going and keep focusing, and when it was announced the other day, I was obviously excited and really proud, but I was really relieved that all that effort had been worth it.”

Inwood is the second ACM member to be selected for the ultra-marathon event, following in the footsteps of Graeme Butcher, who competed in two world championships, as well as Commonwealth and Oceania championships.

“Ever since I started doing this stuff, and when I did my first 100k race, I’ve leant on him, and my first 100k race was his last 100k race in Christchurch. He’s been a bit of a mentor to me ever since, really and giving me guidance on this longer stuff, especially the 24 hours.”

Inwood has a personal best [PB] of 202km, set in Sydney last year and knows that he will need to run even further to be a serious challenger. World record holder Lithuanian Aleksandr Sorokin, who ran a phenomenal 319.614km last year, and a strong group of American and Australian athletes capable of running 240km plus are likely to line up.

“You go there with the plan to run a PB and punish yourself harder than you ever have. You never know what is going to happen in these races. Even the frontrunner can fall over or pull out. That happened to me in Melbourne in April. I was second by a long way, and the guy winning it, there didn’t seem anything wrong with him, but he just decided he had had enough.”

Inwood will warm up for the worlds by competing in the12 hour race at the national champs in September. He also intends to get a coach for the first time and concentrate on getting a few more km in the legs, strength work and stretching and diet.

“I was saying to someone the other day, there’s so much room for improvement, and there’s so much more I could do to go further.”

Although the world championships will be a highlight, Inwood reckons his recent involvement in the Bad Water ultra marathon covering 217km in Death Valley takes a lot of beating.

Inwood crewed and paced for Australian Marie Connor, who finished third woman and seventh overall, finishing in just under 28 hours.

“What an experience Bad Water has always been the pinnacle for me and the end goal. She started at 10pm, in 48 degrees, in the third wave and an hour later, that car was reading 59 degrees with the heat coming off the rocks. It was my running highlight, and it wasn’t even my event.”

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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